GREELEY, COLO. — William W. Lovette is retiring as president and chief executive officer of JBS S.A. unit Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. after eight years at the company’s helm. He will be succeeded immediately by Jayson Penn, current president of Pilgrim’s USA. Mr. Lovette will remain available to provide strategic advisory services to the company through July 2020.

“The board is extremely grateful for Bill’s leadership, vision, dedication and commitment,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, chairman of the board of directors for Pilgrim’s. “His legacy at Pilgrim’s will endure through the strong management team and unique business platform he developed, which will position the company for continued growth and success.”

Mr. Penn joined Pilgrim’s in March 2011 as senior vice-president of the commercial business group and was later promoted to executive vice-president. Mr. Penn began his career in his family’s poultry operations and moved on to hold management positions at Sanderson Farms and Marshall Durbin Companies. He also worked as director of sales at Case Foods.

Additionally, Mr. Penn has served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and he currently serves on the board and executive committee of the National Chicken Council as well as that of The World Poultry Foundation.

“Jayson Penn has enjoyed a distinguished career in the poultry industry and has played an integral role in the success of Pilgrim’s over the last eight years,” Mr. Tomazoni said. “Since joining the company, Jayson has exemplified the leadership qualities, passion to succeed and business acumen that make him the ideal candidate to assume this role. The board’s decision is further validation of the Pilgrim’s strategy, implemented in 2012, to create a unique, diversified portfolio across multiple geographies, with a focus on key customers and operational excellence, to generate more consistent and higher margins. Jayson has been at the forefront of this strategy, and we are confident in his ability to continue to create shareholder value.”